SQL Server and Windows Server 2008 End of Support: Know Your Options
On July 9th, 2019 support for SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 will end; support for Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 will end 6 months later. Without regular security updates and patches from Microsoft designed to protect your environment, you could be exposed to security breaches and failure to follow compliance regulations like PCI, HIPPA, and SOX. If something in your environment breaks, you will be on your own to fix it. How will you explain to your CEO and shareholders that you were running unsupported software or servers if an intruder breaches your environment?
“The only wrong plan of action when navigating your organization through end of support is doing nothing.”
The reality is, if your organization isn’t already acting on a plan to modernize your infrastructure before end of support hits, you’re already behind. Downtime to upgrade and protect your environment at the last minute will be high and could cause your organization to incur significant costs. The only wrong plan of action when navigating your organization through EoS (end of support) is doing nothing at all. Planning a course of action as soon as possible is critical to securing your environment and mitigating your risk and costs associated with EoS. Thankfully, there are paths Microsoft has prepared as your business plans the right course of action.
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SQL Server 2008 and Windows Server EoS Options
Microsoft is offering three distinct paths to help your organization stay protected as EoS rapidly approaches: migrating your environment to Azure, purchasing extended security updates for your existing configuration, or upgrading your on-premise environment to supported software.
Extended EoS Support
You may decide you need more time to evaluate your options before making a definitive decision on your environment Microsoft offers extended security updates for SQL and Windows Server 2008 that can be purchased for an additional three years. Writing that extended support check to Microsoft gives you more time to decide how to act and extends your protection but does nothing to modernize your infrastructure or position you to avoid EoS and EoL (end of life) problems later down the line. If you choose this option, it is important to do work with your Microsoft team ahead of time so you know how big that check will be that you are cutting come July 9th.
Exploring which components of your data estate you must migrate to the cloud vs. which you can leave as-is allows you a path to a modernized infrastructure while also staying protected. This compelling opportunity of migrating to Azure Virtual Machine or moving data to an Azure SQL Database Managed Instance, enables you to take advantage of Microsoft’s offer to get three free years of extended support for your environment while you make your transition to the cloud. An Azure migration gives organizations the same extended support as the first pathway of continued support, but without the added risk you would incur from failing to take action now.
For organizations that need more time to modernize their infrastructure or want to ensure their foundation and governance work in Azure is complete to the highest standards, this option is perfect. This is by far the best option for businesses looking to enable new operational capabilities that weren’t possible without the cloud. If you are going to spend the money either way, why not spend it modernizing vs. paying for extended protection?
If you already have an extensive or current investment in physical hardware, it may make more sense to move to a newer instance of on-premises software to manage your data estate until your organization is ready to move to the cloud. Thankfully, Microsoft has published a number of resources that can be helpful when migrating EoS environments to supported platforms. The downside to this option is you miss out on the potential savings, including opportunities to pay less with Microsoft Azure.
Start a Plan
Deciding which option is best for your business can be complex. You must consider the complexity of your environment, your security risk tolerance, your compliance exposure, and your budget constraints. Make sure you have a plan in place prior to July 2019. If you are not sure where to begin or want to ensure you are making a decision that is in the best interest of your organization, work with Microsoft or a skilled solutions provider to resolve any end of support uncertainties.